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The Gypsies of Slovakia & Europe

In this lesson, students examine the tension in Slovakia over the issue of the rights of Romas (Gypsies). Students compare and contrast the situation in Slovakia to other historical examples researched in class.


Step One

Open a Microsoft Word document and identify 3-5 rights that you think all humans should have and explain why people should have each of them

Step Two

Read the article about The Gypsies of Slovakia

Step Three

Answer the following questions in the same Word document used in Step One

  1. Who is Darina Horvathova and where does she live? What is her life like? What are the lives of her Roma neighbors like?

  2. Who are Cyril and Petr Horvath? What is their professional background? Why can't they get jobs?

  3. Describe what life was like for the Gypsies under Communist rule?

  4. What problems has Slovakia been dealing with since it became a democracy?

  5. According to the article, what is causing the Roma children to become ill?

  6. What international organization has become involved in the plight of the Romas? What types of atrocities have they exposed?

  7. Who is Mikulas Dzurinda? What strides has he made to improve the situation of the Gypsies? How are his efforts being hindered? Who is hindering them?

  8. Who are Miroslav Blistan and Ladislav Sabo? What are their views of life in Slovakia? What are their views on the Gypsies?

  9. From whom do the Roma obtain their water and their sanitation services? What tensions surround the provision of these necessities?

Step Four

Using the resources below write a short essay about the conditions of the Romas throughout Europe. Please write this part of the assignment in the same Word document used in Step One and Step Three.

You can use some of the information from the article you read, but you need the information from the resources provided below for this part of the assignment. In otherwords; use the resources below to help you with the question you need to answer in your essay.

Include the following in your essay;

  • Who are the Romas or Gypsies and where do they live?

  • Describe how they live? How do other people and governments treat this minority group?

  • Why do their living conditions contradict your ideas of what basic human rights should be? What do international organizations think?

  • Your opinion: What solutions would you create to solve the problems faced by the Romas?

If you need help writing your essay using paraphrases, use these writing guides to help you.

Please follow these guidelines for typewritten work.

See the teacher when you're done with your first draft.

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The flag of Slovakia

Process - Things to think about while working on this assignment

Things to think about for ths assignment

You should be comparing and contrasting the treatment and perception of the Gypsies of Slovakia with the list of basic human rights developed in Step One.

How was this conflict resolved (give specific resolutions), and how has this conflict permanently impacted all who were involved?

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Human Rights Watch Report on Gypsies of Slovakia

Listing of Human Rights Watch Reports of Roma in Europe Reports by HRW of the condition of Roma throughout the countries of Europe is dedicated to the struggle for freedom from persecution and oppression worldwide.

European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) Has a databases in its Resource page of abuses against the Roma of Europe. There's also a long list of links. offers political, cultural, economic and historic information about Slovakia.

Map of Slovakia

U.S. Library of Congress Country Study - Czechoslovakia-see a comprehensive introduction to the former country that includes facts-at-a-glance and sections on history, geography, society, economy, and government.

Additional information about the Roma

Modern photographs of Roma in Europe

Use these guidelines for your typewritten work

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Facts about Slovakia

Official name: Slovenská Republika (Slovak Republic).
Form of government: unitary multiparty republic with one legislative house (National Council [150]).
Chief of state: President.
Head of government: Prime Minister.
Population (1998): 5,425,000.
Population projection: (2000) 5,466,000; (2010) 5,676,000.
Natural increase rate per 1,000 population (1995): 1.6 (world avg. 15.7).
Gross national product (1996): U.S.$18,206,000,000 (U.S.$3,410 per capita).
Land use (1994): forested 40.6%; meadows and pastures 17.0%; agricultural and under permanent cultivation 32.9%; other 9.5%.

Evaluation - How you will be graded

Grading Rubric

Students will be evaluated based on

  1. Written responses,

  2. Quality of their writing,

  3. Ability to navigate between two applications at the same time,

  4. Infer knowledge from the article, provided resources and prior class lessons about citizenship and rights of citizens,

  5. Ability to paraphrase from the resources provided.

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Questions to Conclude this Assignment

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State Standard 5.3, National Standards V, and Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning Standards for World History Standard 44, Geography Standard 10 & 13

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Updated: 03/16/04